Initially, capitalists of the freight sector tried to use the strike to bargain in the name of their interests in the inter-capitalist competition against the oil companies and the government. There was doubt whether it was lockout or strike. But then the strike went out of control. When the capitalists of the freight sector made an agreement with the government to end it, the workers continued it and the strike increased even more.
The initial reason for the strike was the increases caused by the price policy of diesel oil, which became directly linked to the speculative volatility of the oil in the international market (that is, the price variation seemed to be a bitcoin) and also the exchange rate of the Dollar against the Real.
The truck drivers (46% self-employed and 53% employed) have been brutally affected, because the oil supply to the trucks is paid out of their pocket. The strike is gigantic, it affects the whole country, literally. It's stopping the whole economy.
But at the outset, carrier businessmen participated or even led the strike because they also have interests in inter-capitalist competition with oil companies and with government. So there was a lot of doubt whether it was a lockout or a strike, also because strangely the bourgeois media and the police even seemed to support it, unlike any other type of strike, which is always presented on television as vandalism or even crime. The strike was then manipulated as an object of bargaining to serve the interests of businessmen (eg. employers' claims regarding paying less labor rights, como a "reoneração da folha de pagamento").
Until May 24, when the employers unions (or the workers' unions sold off) made an agreement with the government to end the strike, winning some demands (such as price readjustment per month and no more at any moment, and a reduction of oil 10%).
But with the agreement, the businessmen could not stop the strike, because the workers decided to continue it (it seems the strike increased even more). Although there are still some businessmen who continue to participate, now it has become predominantly a struggle against bosses, class struggle. For example, the claims are about the very low price of freight paid to workers by carriers, by employers. And then the bourgeois media now presents the strike as vandalism and crime, and the government is mobilizing the armed forces against the strike, etc.
Of course we support any autonomous struggle of the workers for improving their conditions. What we can contribute is a perspective on the likely effects on society, evaluating them with the criterion of whether or not it affirms solidarity among all workers, oppressed, proletarians against the ruling class, not only in the country but in the world.
In this evaluation the strikes in the service and transport sector strongly affect other proletarians who use these services, and not only the bosses and the government, who often do not suffer at all because they practice "investment diversification" (for example, often the capitalists are shareholders of several companies from various sectors, even from several countries, etc.). Thus, in the case of this strike of truck drivers, the proletariat everywhere suffers from the lack of food, and is left with many fundamental needs not met, due to the increase in prices, which rise to the heights in these situations. In order to get out of this impasse that ultimately leads to a conflict between workers, the logical solution is to replace the strike with free production, which affirms the satisfaction of human needs against capital, money and the State, impelling solidarity of class everywhere. This has the potential of generalizing to the world to the point of creating a new mode of production in which the productive forces are subjected to human desires, needs and capacities, and no longer to profit or class domination. For more details on this proposal, see the text strike and free production.
humanaesfera, May 26, 2018
Update of May 28:
THE ATTRACTION OF TRUCK DRIVERS FOR BONAPARTISM
The claim for "military intervention" 1 that apparently occurs very often in this truckers' strike is disturbing. But it is important to note that this request seems to have become prevalent when the federal government called the armed forces against the strike. So, in this particular circumstance, it seems to have the rather pragmatic sense of fraternization between soldiers and truckers. But nothing is clear about that.
The category of the truck drivers is ambiguous, because, especially among the self-employed, who own their trucks (or even more trucks, exploiting other workers), the petty-bourgeois aspect entails a vacillation between bourgeois and proletarian positions, even if precarious labor prevails among them. This means that this category, while their struggle is isolated, is incapable of asserting an autonomous social project, which generally translates into the appeal to some external, extraterrestrial power, some kind of Bonapartism or Caudillism that would bring "order" by force. Hence the attraction for the rhetoric of the far-right, nostalgic of the military dictatorship. The same petty-bourgeois aspect occurs in taxi drivers, and, to a lesser degree, Uber workers ...
This will remain so long as the struggle does not spread. If all the rest of the proletariat begins to struggle in a generalized manner - and the very impact of the shortage and the worsening of the conditions of life that it entails can impel to it -, the bourgeoisie and the bureaucracy (including military) will clearly reveal themselves as enemies. In this, the fraternization of the class against the ruling class will render nonsense the corporatist or petty-bourgeois defense of prefabricated identities in capitalist society. In this situation, it is very probable that there will be a general inflection to affirm the fraternization by the autonomous fight: to constitute, for example, "soviets of soldiers, truck drivers and workers," in which no power is conceded unconditionally to anyone, and where the mandates are revocable at any time by the assemblies.
But while the proletariat as a whole watches only passively what is happening, the truckers' strike is doomed to serve the factions of the ruling class competing for exploit the proletariat.
humanaesfera, May 28, 2018
- 1Which refers to the desire to reinstall a military dictatorship like the one that settled in 1964 in Brazil.